Property tax in Texas has a tendency to be confusing for many of its residents. If you have ever had to pay property tax in the state, then you probably have a basic understanding of all the hoops you have to jump through and all the deadlines and dates you have to keep in mind. In Texas, January 1st is not just the beginning of a new year. It also marks the opening of important time periods in the property tax world. From appraisals to exemptions, January 1st is an important date to keep in mind.
The Attachment of Tax Liens
According to the website for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, January 1st marks the date when every property throughout the state is attached to a tax lien.
These tax liens effectively make it so that the owners of the properties are liable for tax payments, interest, and any penalties incurred in the upcoming tax year. The lien itself is not a bill or a payment notice. Instead, it indicates that the owner of the property as of January 1st of a certain year will have to pay all property taxes and other payments for that year.
The Date of Appraisals
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts also indicates that January 1st marks the beginning of property appraisals. These appraisals will be carried out by the county appraisal district where each property is located. For instance, the Guadalupe County Appraisal District will begin the appraisal process on January 1st for all properties within its jurisdiction.
The appraisal of the value of a property determines how much the owner will have to pay in property taxes. Each appraisal district has different methods of appraisal, but they all collect data to make the most informed valuation that they can.
Start of Exemption Period
One of the most important things about January 1st is the opening of the exemption filing period. There are numerous exemptions that property owners can apply for, but the most common is a “homestead exemption.” In basic terms, homestead exemptions allow homeowners to pay a smaller amount in property tax given the right circumstances. For instance, homeowners can receive exemptions if they pay school or county taxes. Homeowners can also receive exemptions if they are over 65 and/or disabled.
It’s important to apply for exemptions early on because the appraisal district begins processing and reviewing applications early on. If your exemption is declined, then you can always appeal the decision of the appraisal district. Property owners have until April 30th to apply for property tax exemptions.
In the end, January 1st might not be the most important day in the lives of most residents of Texas, but it can be an important marker for all property owners in the state. Typically, no action is required on January 1st, unless you want to apply for exemptions. Even so, the state of the property, current ownership, and the property’s use on January 1st all affect how the property will be appraised and valued in the upcoming year.
If you need more information regarding the January 1st deadline, contact O’Connor & Associates today. One of our property tax experts will answer any question you may have.